Once a C-section always a C-section?
You’ve had a cesarean birth (C-Section) and now you may wonder if you can try vaginal birth with your next baby. It’s likely that you can. Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is often a success and many patients and doctors opt to have a vaginal birth after a C-Section. However, there are certain criteria that need to be met before attempting a VBAC.
Dr. Kristen Williams, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Fairview Northland Medical Center, addresses some common questions that will help you understand VBAC and services offered at The Birthplace at Fairview Northland Medical Center.
Q: When are VBAC considered possible versus not possible?
Dr. Williams: Questions about when a VBAC is advisable and when it isn’t should be directed to your medical provider.
In order to attempt a VBAC, you’ll need to discuss the possibility with your physician because there are certain criteria you have to meet. VBAC eligibility depends on many factors, including the type of incision that was used for your prior C-section and the reason for the prior C-section. If the baby was breech or distressed, you may be a good candidate for VBAC. If the baby didn’t fit through your pelvis or your cervix didn’t dilate, the odds of a successful VBAC may not be as high. However, since every baby is different and every labor is different, you and your doctor should discuss whether a VBAC is a good option.
Q: How do I know if VBAC is right for me?
Dr. Williams: VBAC may be right for you if a transverse (side-to-side) incision in the uterus was used for your cesarean birth. But, be aware that your skin incision may not match the incision in your uterus. VBAC may also be right for you if you have no health problems that would prevent a VBAC. Last but not least, the baby has to be in a normal head-down position during the time of delivery.
The most important thing when seeking a VBAC is ensuring that everyone around you is supportive of your choice. This means finding a provider and a hospital/birth center (if using one) that is truly supportive of VBAC. This means finding a provider that truly supports VBAC as opposed to simply allowing it. Anyone present with you during your labor should also be supportive of your choice.
Q: Can VBAC be beneficial for me?
Dr. Williams: When compared with a cesarean delivery, VBAC has certain benefits. You’ll spend less time in the hospital because VBAC doesn’t require surgery; therefore, you can go home sooner. A shorter recovery since you won’t have an abdominal incision. This also means you should feel better faster than the last time you gave birth. VBAC also has fewer health risks because it reduces the chances of excess bleeding and infection.
Q: Is VBAC safe for me and my baby?
Dr. Williams: VBAC carries little risk for mother and baby, provided it’s successful. For the most part, risks for VBAC are related to risk of uterine rupture — when an incision site pulls apart. Rest assured that rupture is very rare, but can vary depending on the type of incision used on the prior cesarean, as well as interventions used during an attempted VBAC.
A mother attempting a VBAC is more likely to have a vaginal birth than a mother giving birth for the first time. Most VBACs are successful.
For more information about VBAC or to visit The Birthplace at Fairview Northland Medical Center, call 763-389-1313.